Anti pickpocket bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

anti pickpocket bag

This is my take on an anti pickpocket bag made of fabric with twisted handles.  I’m calling it Helsinki and here’s the backstory to this design: As many of our regular readers know, I was recently away on vacation with my family.  During the break, we managed to visit the Bernina factory in Switzerland, call in on what I’ll argue is the finest fabric shop in the world in Italy, and as a final stop, we went in search of the famous design house, Marimekko, in Finland –all of which I’ll be writing about in the near future. In any case, while we were in Finland, in supposedly one of the safest cities in the world, my teenage daughter was pick pocketed and lost her very, very expensive iPhone.  Needless-to-say, her father was none too happy about this.  The small handbag … Continue reading

The Ultimate Beach Blanket

Ultimate Beach Blanket

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were living in Sydney, Australia.  The beach was never far –take your pick north or south you are bound to find one of the finest quality water lifestyles known to man.  Pristine, unpolluted water that can go on for miles along the coast.  So it comes as no surprise that the weekend activity for many Australians is generally beach-related. I was due around February 14th and I started to feel uncomfortable with a huge belly around New Years Eve.  It’s usually very hot at that time of year, and the only respite is to go to the beach.  However, the water current in summer changes and cold water from the south pole makes its way up the shore, dropping the temperature of the water to an average of 66 degrees.  So … Continue reading

Perfect Beach Dress for Summer Fun

perfect beach dress

The town where I grew up sits in a valley over a mile (1800 meters) above sea level and surrounded by mountains.  But if you found it on a map, you’d see we were not really too far from the sea.  From time to time, we went to the beach in the back of a big pickup truck.  It was the same one they used to move the cattle, horses and chickens to the abattoir, so it was pretty rustic. On the way from my small town to the beach, we would pick a few of my cousins on the way.  When I say “a few” cousins, I mean until the pickup truck was full.  It only really took 3 or 4 stops to fill the truck because as it happens, I have 68 cousins, if you can believe it, and filling almost … Continue reading

Boho Chic Tunic free pattern plus tutorial

Boho Chic Tunic

The first time I made this Boho Chic Tunic pattern, I had just turned 15 years old.  Originally a dress, I decided to remake and share it with you.  For me, it represents freedom which is why I wanted you to have it. Long a ago, one time when my parents were not getting along, my father worked far from home and would only come every 3 months.  My mother was in charge of a household and 5 kids and a very small business, so you can imagine her day.  I wanted to go to a school party and my sister wanted to come with me.  Needless to say money for new outfits to go to school parties was not in the budget.  My mother always happy to help said “I can only give you 5 dollars, see what you … Continue reading

Faviola, The “housewife” summer dress

summer dress

A couple of days ago, I went to a local store to buy a floor runner for a hallway.  After looking for a while, I finally decided on one and proceeded to bargain the price –a common practice here in Singapore before you agree on a price.  After much arguing, I actually decided not to buy the rug.  It wasn’t anything special and the price was indeed inflated.  When the salesman perceived I was backing away, he proceeded to use the old flattery tactic, but having grown up in Latin America I was immune to it. What did catch my attention though, and despite me wearing a rather obvious wedding band, he continued to use the word “miss”.  I corrected him and said “missus” –after all, I am married.  The man said but you do not look like a “housewife”.  I … Continue reading

Small Fringed Bag Tutorial

Small Fringed Bag

Small bags are really “in” at the moment and a small fringed bag like this one is particularly fun and easy to make. A small fringed bag for me represents freedom from the overwhelming amount of things I end up carrying around inside my normal bag.  I was in a restaurant recently and my bag fell off the chair and you can imagine all the things that spilled out onto the floor.  How embarrassing!  With a bag of this size, I will only be taking the essentials –which is fine for a night out or lunch with the girls. A small bag like this is really a key part of anyone’s wardrobe.  This pattern will give you the choice of making a clutch or to hang it over your shoulder so you have some flexibility. This is a self-lined small bag which means we’re using the same … Continue reading

Mens Pajama Shorts with Pockets – Father’s Day idea

Mens Pajama Shorts

For most men I know, nothing beats a sunny warm morning, a cup of coffee, and some good reading material by the porch, balcony or in the back yard –but hanging out there cool enough without scaring the neighbors sometimes can be a little challenging.  I’ve got two men living in my house and because it’s quite warm here, they always seem to be walking around the house in their underwear and as you can imagine, that causes problems from time to time. I wanted to give the guys an alternative, but it’s hard to find store bought mens pajama shorts that are both comfortable and stylish enough, so I decided to come with my own design that would be both.  Here are some mens pajama shorts that no one will know are pajamas and are good enough to go to the supermarket and grab … Continue reading

How to Use the Pintuck Foot

pintuck foot

I’ve been learning more about the different sewing machine feet in my mega-box of presser feet that I bought.  This week, the pintuck foot has been intriguing and delighting me.  Accurate sewing has never been a strong-point of mine so the prospect of sewing lines and lines of neat and accurate little pin tucks – well, that would fill me with horror! Bring it on now that I have the pintuck foot.  Accurate and straight sewing has never been easier with this simple addition to the machine.  Often seen in heirloom sewing mixed in with other decorative stitching, pin tucks are pretty and give dimension and structure to your sewing.  They can be used purely as a decorative addition, but with some clever thinking they can also be used to give shaping to garments in place of pleats and darts … Continue reading

Shirring without elastic thread

shirring without elastic thread

So what is shirring anyway? In preparation for a new project this week, I want to introduce you to a technique called shirring (which is sometimes known as smocking) with a simple practice tutorial.  According to Wikipedia, “shirring is two or more rows of gathers that are used to decorate parts of garments, usually sleeves, bodice or yoke.”  With shirring, the gathers can be both decorative as well as functional since elastic can be used to draw in the gathers giving the garment more give to accommodate different sizes. Most techniques you’ll see around will show you how to do shirring with elastic thread.  Personally, I think that technique has some significant limitations, so I’m going to show you how you can do shirring without elastic thread and using normal elastic.  When you use elastic thread, this thread can irritate … Continue reading

Easy Tunic

easy tunic

This is a tunic that is so easy to make that you will want to make many in different colors.  This pattern would make a good project for those looking for their first garment. The only slightly tricky part is applying bias tape to the v-neck which is why we’ve created a separate tutorial on that to make sure anyone and everyone can succeed at this project. Last week we had the pleated blouse and many of you asked about elongating the sleeves so the arms will not show as much.  We’ve tried to address that request in this new design.  This tunic has a very loose fit, is very easy to make and easy to wear.  Dress it up or down to be perfect for any occasion. This tunic makes an awesome mini dress if you make it a couple sizes too … Continue reading